Indian economy in a relative 'bright spot', must leverage exports: IMF official

Labourers unload rice bags from a supply truck at India's main rice port at Kakinada Anchorage

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India is in a relative "bright spot" in the world economy, but needs to leverage its existing strength in services exports and extend it to job-rich manufacturing exports, a top official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday.

"India is a relative bright spot in the world economy today, growing at rates significantly above its peer average," IMF Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh said at an event in New Delhi.

"Macroeconomic policies are responding to the significant headwinds, with fiscal policy measures supporting vulnerable groups and monetary policy addressing persistently high inflation."

India's headline inflation moderated to an 11-month low 5.88% in November from 6.77% the month before. The Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy committee has increased the policy repo rate by 225 basis points since May last year to reign in inflation.

Sayeh said she was hopeful that India's federal government will provide a clear path on fiscal consolidation in the upcoming budget for 2023-24.

(Reporting by Nikunj Ohri; writing by Siddhi Nayak in Mumbai; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)